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Merrillville council continues effort to sell park properties

Updated: January 14, 2014 12:08PM

MERRILLVILLE — The Town Council on Tuesday accepted one bid submitted for a park property at an auction in November, rejected another and agreed to put all the properties that didn’t sell at the auction up for bid again.

Victoria Clark paid $5,000 for the one-acre portion of Jennings & Wilson Park at 7460 Wilson Place that includes the baseball diamond.

Clerk-treasurer Eugene Guernsey said her bid was approved because it was about 30 percent of the appraised value of the lot.

Clark said at the auction that she wanted to use the land as a practice ballfield for the Playmakers travel baseball team out of Griffith, consisting of kids ages 11 and under.

She said the families now have to travel 40 minutes to Chicago to practice due to the lack of open ballfields in the region.

Clark said she would not close the ballfield to other users, but she would ask others to delay their play if the team comes to practice.

Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-3rd, said he didn’t want an 8-foot fence installed at the park for sight issues.

Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, suggested the buyer put some type of sign up to protect herself in the event someone gets hurt.

“I don’t want it to say ‘no trespassing’ because I want other kids to play there, too,” Pettit said.

Councilman Richard Hardaway, D-2nd, suggested a private property sign be erected at the site.

The council rejected a $30,000 bid for the 1.2-acre parcel at about 3694 W. 80th Lane that is now the site of Hendricks Park.

“It didn’t meet the value of the property,” Guernsey said.

That parcel is on a frontage road off U.S. 30 and was appraised at $178,000.

No bids were submitted for the 1.7-acre parcel at 110 W. 86th Ave., just west of Broadway Avenue, which was appraised at $191,500; for the .26-acre lot at 1016 W. 61st Ave., which was appraised at $16,200, or for another one-acre parcel of Jennings & Wilson Park, valued at $14,500.

Guernsey said all these properties, and the Hendricks Park propety, will be rebid.

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